Tag Archive: DVD


Still a Wonder

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Sometimes after you have have seen a movie, there is a bit of a high feeling like this is the best movie you have ever seen and nothing can ever compare to it.

But then hours or days go by, you think about the movie some more and realize maybe it wasn’t so great.

I have had that once the fantastic visual effect or great music placement has worn off. What seemed great is long gone till all I see are the deficits.

Wonder woman - pictureI have not felt that way about Wonder Woman and at this point I don’t expect to do so. Every time I see a commercial or a clip from the movie, still get excited. Knowing that it comes out on DVD on the 19th makes me want to buy a copy for myself.

Director Patty Jenkins gave us a tour de force about a superhero whose motivation is not about revenge or cleaning up after a bad mistake. Diana’s motivation is always about fighting evil and promoting the best parts of humanity.

That doesn’t mean to say she is a wimpy or wishy-washy character. When meeting Steve Trevor’s secretary, Etta, and hearing her job duties, Diana’s response is forthright as she says in her country that is called slavery.

Each fight scene shows Diana running into the forefront of battle, never shying away from the danger or the action.

That fearlessness shows on Gal Gadot’s face in every scene. There are times that she appears to relish the battle, to know she is actively fighting all that is wrong in the world. It also shows up in the quiet moments when Diana leave her home island when she tells her mother that she would be a worse kind of person to stay knowing there is evil outside of their world, killing thousands and doing nothing.

Brave words met with action.

Wonder woman - homeWhile one character can make a movie good, it takes a group to make it great. Gadot has solid support in Chris Pine as Steve Trevor who is always quick on his feet no matter what the situation. He is a man of his time and treats Diana as a precious object to be protected, not realizing till later, she doesn’t need to be protected.

And then there is David Thewlis as Sir Patrick, Trevor’s patron. He states he wants the war to be over and he is willing to back whatever plans Steve makes. His character is charming and gentlemanly, what we expect from an English aristocrat. Thewlis makes the role effortlessly his, no more Professor Lupin hesitancy here.

Lastly, I have to mention Robin Wright as Antiope, Diana’s aunt and trainer, General of the Amazons. We have seen her be fierce in House of Cards but in this role she has to step it up 500 times and she does so. With every scene of training and fighting, Wright never stops to consider, never backs down. Even her scene when she is gravely injured is still a performance of toughness. It allows us to see where Diana gets her inner strength.

There are few movies I choose to watch over and over again. This is absolutely one of the one I will watch again.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Review: The Hunger Games

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

Since Harry Potter came on the scene, movie studios have been looking for a book series that would captivate young audience members and their parents into watching a package deal.

 

Many books came to the big screen: The Spiderwick Chronicles, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Narnia, Judy Moody, Bezzus and Ramona.  Some worked out while others didn’t make it beyond the first film.

 

I hear a lot of people say “Well, they are just family movies. You shouldn’t expect much.”

 

I disagree with that because if I am plunking down my cold hard cash – which I do not have in abundance – I want the product to be of good quality. I want a family movie that has a well-told story and good action. I want characters to be believable. If my heart gets a little broken, that is Okay.

 

Movie Poster Image from IMDb.com

When The Hunger Games was announced as a new movie project, I knew little about the book. My daughter had read it which meant I stole her copy and read it for myself.

 

I really loved the book. It was exciting, subversive, and dark. I could see all of these characters living in a dangerous world, where any sort of rebellion was quickly slammed down. At the end of the book, I understood why Katniss never wanted to have children.

 

When the movie came out last spring, we were happy that it was going to be at one of our favorite drive-in movie theaters. We took our seven-year-old with us but I do not believe this was a movie he should have seen. The age of ten might be the best starting age for this movie.

 

You understand that as the games begin and we watched Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), Petra (Josh Hutcherson) and the other tributes navigate the playing field. We see what their life is like back home and come to understand the grinding level of poverty. They have to take everything they know to a treacherous Capitol where image is everything and the more outlandish the better.

 

The story telling is well done, drawing on the constant fear. The cinematography is beautiful and nearly seamless with the necessary CGI effects. What grabs my attention, however, is the performances by Lawrence, Hutcherson and Woody Harrelson. These three people have to see the worst of humanity through a process not of their choosing. To see how each character copes is as interesting as the game itself.

 

If you have read the book first, be aware that not every detail makes it into the movie. That is simply the way of movie transformation, especially when you have a limited time frame to tell the story. We will not get the whole story of the connection between Katniss and Petra . Nor will some of the subtleties of other characters be on display.

 

What we do get is suspense, great storytelling, a connection to characters and a look into a world that could be ours if things had gone differently.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.